Antivirus Software Microsoft Security Essentials Tested

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 27, 2009
Updated • Dec 9, 2014
Antivirus, Security, Windows software

Microsoft has released a public beta of their new antivirus software Security Essentials a few days ago. The beta was limited to 75000 participants, a number that was reached quickly considering that many wanted to test the new security program.

Security Essentials is at the moment not available on the Microsoft website anymore but it is expected that the final version of the antivirus software will make its debut before the release of Microsoft's next operating system Windows 7.

While many may be perfectly fine with the program, others were interested in how well it would fare against state of the art security software such as Kaspersky Antivirus, Norton Antivirus, Bitdefender, or the free Avira or AVG programs. First tests came just in courtesy of the German AV-Test GMBH company.

Computerworld spoke with the company's manager Andreas Marx who mentioned that they ran preliminary tests with a set of nearly 3,200 common viruses, bot Trojans and worms on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Results were impressive as Security Essentials was able to detect all malicious software in the test and managed to avoid false positive reports as well. Tests with a larger set of viruses, trojans and worms have been scheduled which is why the current results should not be considered final.

Security Essentials did well in this first test though as it was able to detect all the malicious software (which included rootkits as well). This stands in contrast to comments made by other antivirus companies that were trying to be suggestive that Security Essentials was an inferior product.

Update: You can check out the most recent test of the program and other antivirus software programs running on Windows 7 on the AV Test website.

Security Essentials performed below industry average in the most recent test including other free solutions.


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  1. said on July 2, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    The top antivirus software programs cost as little as 2 months internet connection. They all include constant and unlimited automatic updates that keep your system safe and clean.If you can afford $1500+ on a computer, $300+/year on internet connections, you can definitely afford another $50 once to make it safe (and prevent it from being used to spread viruses and Trojan horses behind your back).

  2. Nick said on June 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm


    Will this software conflict with a system that already has Nod32, Super AntiSpyware and Malwarebytes AntiMalware programs already installed on it.? Thanks!

  3. pvidia said on June 29, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Norton Antivirus 2009 with AntiSpyware, a Smart security, engineered for speed. Includes: Norton Antivirus, Norton AntiSpyware, Norton Pulse Updated, Norton Insight, Norton Browser Protection

  4. Nicolai H said on June 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve made a test with Microsoft Security Essentials and it was pretty good, actually it was better than Kaspersky AV 2009 in some parts :O

    I removed all my “permissions” to acces a folder full of viruses and then I scanned it with kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 and kaspersky could not find any viruses (It couldn’t see what was inside the folder). But Microsoft Security Essentials could see the viruses and remove them with no problems.

    I can’t say anything about how good the “detection rate” was but Microsoft Security Essentials could see the files and Kaspersky could not see them.

    I actually think M$ has made a good AV product :O

    1. Sleepingeye said on December 24, 2009 at 9:23 am

      Wait, so even if you restrict access to file and folders, MSEssentials was able to read inside of it… Were you notified with any confirmation screens that it required Administrator access?

      If not, that actually scares me a little bit. How did they do that? This is ripe for malware writers to piggy back onto. There are viruses / malware that specifically target and compromise certain popular antivirus products. If I were a malware / rootkit writer, I would certainly target this (especially if it were able to access system files) If successful, the user would not be able to clean the virus without doing an “offline” scan (plugging drive into another computer).

  5. deano fabaza said on June 27, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Norton = Respected Antivirus. Not! I must admit I have not tried the latest 2009 version which by all accounts is quite good. I got Norton with a pc three and a half years ago my experience has been Norton = 6 months of problems. Avast = No problems since. MSE would have to be very good to tempt me away from Avast. I read MSE has no heuristic detection so it’s up to them updating the database quickly to catch new/ variations of infections. Could it be installed as on demand only?

  6. ferohen said on June 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Just noticed it was a “preliminary test” …but still.that results means nothing to me,especially when we have to deal with a strip down version of the Windows OneCare A.K.A. Microsoft Security Essentials.

  7. ferohen said on June 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    ” 3,200 common viruses, bot Trojans and worms”

    Are you kidding me ??? You call this a Serious Number of Samples for an Antivirus/Malware Test ???

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